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Posts Tagged ‘georgia’

Speaking of Sears Homes in Georgia…

May 20th, 2012 Sears Homes 4 comments

Eleven months ago, I wrote about Sears Home #119 in Martinez, Georgia. It was built by R. Lyle and it was also one of Sears largest kit homes.

Some time later, a reader named Stacey tracked down an old plat map that showed the location of the R. Lyle property near Martinez. Unfortunately, I’m geographically challenged and I’m not sure what this plat is telling me.

Are you good with maps? If so, maybe you can help me figure out just where in Martinez this house is located. Please leave a comment below if you have any information.

Somewhere in Martinez, there’s a Sears Modern Home #119 in hiding!

To see photos of another extraordinary Sears House in Georgia, click here.

To read the original piece about the Sears House in Martinez, click here.

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Ive circled the spot where the Lyle farm is located, but where *is* this?

I've circled the spot where the Lyle farm is located, but where *is* this?

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House

Close-up of map, showing R. T. Lyle parcel, but where is it - exactly?

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Mr. Lyles house in 1915.

Mr. Lyle's house in 1915.

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Testimonial

These cities also have a Sears Modern Home #119.

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Original catalog page

Original catalog page from 19116.

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To learn more, click here.

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We Arrive With Red Dirt On The Wheels…

June 30th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

The following is a guest blog by a dear friend. I thought it was one of the best things I have ever seen in print, so it’s being shared here. I’m encouraging my dear friend to continue this writing and make it into a book. Leave a comment below if you agree.

A caravan of Caravans to Hart County…we returned with red dirt on the wheels.

My grandma (Myrtle Fules - known as “Mertie”) goes to visit her family in Georgia every year. This year my father and I traveled with her for Mertie’s family reunion.

Upon arriving at the picnic/park where the reunion is held, there is a giant sign that says, “Welcome Fules.” There are lots of children and I am surprised at how many of my relatives smoke and are very overweight. My grandma is the oldest living member of the family and she looks about 30 years younger and 50 pounds lighter than everyone there. They are a rough-looking crowd but the food is really, really good.

Mystery casseroles (all with some sort of mush on the bottom and crispy covering on top), fried fish, hush puppies, PIES, cakes, fried chicken, watermelon and potatoes in every form stretch along 6 or 7 picnic tables. There is a ceremonial unveiling of the food as everyone uncovers their dish…a prayer is said and everyone attacks the food as if they have been starved for weeks. The lady in front of me is holding three plates and three forks while screaming at her grandchildren “I’m fixin’ to beat you if you don’t tell me what you want to eat!”

I wait patiently for the unruly children to choose their food. I wonder where their parents are.

I have been given a name tag and instructions to write down my name and the name of the person I am ‘kin’ to…my name tag says “Jane/Mertie”. I guess this is to weed out potential party crashers  and also to spark conversation such as this:

“Hey, Jane. You must be Mertie’s grandbaby”.

I nod and say “yes. Yes, I am”.

“You guys came from Virginia?”

“Yes. Yes, we did”

And so on and so forth….

We sit down to eat and I find myself sitting across from my Uncle Jimmy. Now that I have told you his name, you officially know as much about him as I do. He is old and very thin and we enjoy our food in complete silence. The only words exchanged were him looking up and saying “Bring me some fried pies”.

I was a little surprised at the request but I went and got them anyway. The only remaining pies were soggy ones from the bottom but he didn’t
seem to notice. He ate them and then smoked a cigarette. The end.

I will probably never see Uncle Jimmy again but our brief time together was good.

Because the children are loud and appear very sticky after the meal, I try to stay far away from them. Someone hands them all boiled peanuts in
ziploc bags, I am grateful for this as it seems to keep them all very occupied. I watch them, wondering how they can eat that nasty crap. I feel
like I’m at the zoo.

Everyone starts to leave. People leave as quickly as they came, plates are prepared for people that could not be there and for dogs. The dishes with the mystery casseroles are snatched up, I wonder how anyone can tell the difference between the many oblong glass dishes.

We retire to my Aunt Sara’s trailer. She lives on a small piece of land with 5 other trailers, all of which are inhabited by other relatives. There are three graves on this land and several inoperable cars. There are also lots of tragic looking animals and a caged-in dog that I affectionately call Cujo.

Each night, Aunt Anne drags out a slab of raw meat and tosses it over the 6 foot chain link fence that keeps Cujo contained. I can’t see the dog and Anne explains to me that they must not remove the combination of plywood and beach towels that cover the cage from view because “he gets real excited”. It’s hard to imagine having a “pet” that becomes dangerous and uncontrollable at the mere sight of humans.

Nascar is on the TV in Sara’s trailer but the sound is turned off so that everyone can talk about the reunion. I hate Nascar but I’m unable
to look away from the TV.  The conversation becomes heated as scandalous topics are discussed: Alma took an entire pecan pie home even though she didn’t bring anything. Mattie sat at the dessert table by herself and therefore, is faking diabetes.

Louise’s husband hasn’t left her yet. The fried fish was bad and John Thomas doesn’t know how to cook OR make homemade blueberry ice cream.

I can only imagine what the other families are saying about us in their trailers. Weight gain, weight loss, health, professions, monetary status, clothing and more; the discussion goes on for a long time. Occasionally, I yawn. Someone, each time, looks at me says , “Aw, you tired baby?”

I say, “No, I’m ok,” and smile.

I look at my dad across the room. He sits and stares vacantly into space.  He looks as if he has had a frontal lobotomy.

The only thing he has contributed to the conversation is this: “I had some banana pudding, it was very good.”

His input went unnoticed so I help him out by saying: “I had chicken and ritz cracker casserole, it was also very good”.

We leave the next day. I feel strangely sad. Georgia, Hartwell in Hart County, is a nice place with nice people and even though a very small
amount of matching dna is all that ties me to it, I enjoyed my time there.

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Archaic Rituals of Death and Their Meaning

August 13th, 2010 Sears Homes No comments

In one of my favorite movies, Fried Green Tomatoes, there’s a scene where the young woman dies and her attendant immediately arises and covers a large mirror and then stops a nearby clock. I’d always been fascinated by this old tradition/ritual and wondered about its meaning. I assumed that these practices must have a reason , but I had no idea what that reason might be.

And then I happened to talk to an old friend who explained the reasons for these “odd” traditions.

Let me tell you about my old friend. Her name is Joyce and she’s in her late 70s now, but was raised in the backwoods Georgia of the 1930s. Translated: It was a land and a time more reminiscent of Victorian America. When Joyce was growing up, she had a little sister named Louise that died at the age of three from whooping cough. Joyce remembers “Granny” rocking the child through the night and praying for her, hoping against hope that the little girl would pull through. It wasn’t to be.

Sometime in the wee hours, the little girl looked up at Granny, smiled broadly and passed on quietly. Later that morning, someone in the family went outside and rang the large bell in the front yard.

“It was almost like morse code,” Joyce said. “The bell was tolled a certain number of times for different things. When Louise died, they rang the bell a certain number of times and everyone knew what it meant. Almost immediately, people started coming to the house to help.”

Joyce said they sent the little girl’s body to the mortician who embalmed it and returned the body to the family, for the wake at home. In preparation for the wake, the mortician brought heavy, deep red draperies into the front room of the old house and hung them over the windows, blocking out all sunlight.

“I’m not sure why they put up those drapes,” she said. “Maybe it was to give a solemnity to the wake.”

During the two days of the wake, the little girl’s beloved dog sat dutifully beside the coffin and emitted a mournful wail. The mourners commented on that lamentable howling, and it left them all with a chill. After the wake, the coffin was moved to the church where a service was held. The child’s body was buried in the church cemetery.

The dog followed the family to the cemetery. Some time later, the dog’s body was found along the road. It appeared that the little girl’s pet had literally laid down and died.

My friend Joyce knows a lot about the old ways and about these old rituals.

When one of her elderly aunts lay dying, a family member sat quietly by the bedside. When the old woman breathed her last, the family member arose and draped a heavy cloth over the mirror and opened the clock’s glass face and stopped the clock.

“I saw someone do that in a movie,” I told Joyce. “What’s that about?”

“The cloth over the mirror is for the protection of the departed,” she said. “It’s believed that the spirits of our loved ones may glance into a mirror and become frightened when they see no one looking back.”

That had a resonance of truth, as I’d heard stories about people with near-death experiences saying they couldn’t see any reflection when they looked in a mirror. Wonder how they knew about that back in the 1930s?

“And the clock was stopped for a much more practical reason,” she said. “The clock was stopped so that the mortician would know the time of death.

There was also a requirement - never to be breached - that a loved one sit with the body until burial. I’d imagine this was a throwback to olden days before medical equipment when the dead occasionally came back to life (much to the surprise of the watcher).

It was all fascinating.

As Tevye sings in Fiddler on the Roof, “because of our traditions, we’ve kept our balance for many years.”

Traditions should be remembered and honored, because oftimes, they were created for very practical reasons.


Note at the bottom of this old tombstone, the macabre reminder, "Reader, you must die." Photo is courtesy of Crystal Thornton, copyright 2009, Crystal Thornton.